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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom…

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967)

by Tom Stoppard

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5,271None837 (4.21)119
20th century (107) absurd (28) absurdism (27) British (84) British literature (39) classic (31) classics (25) comedy (82) drama (766) England (21) English (35) English literature (35) existentialism (69) fiction (283) Hamlet (148) humor (146) literature (83) own (23) philosophy (25) play (349) plays (365) read (89) satire (35) script (59) Shakespeare (256) Stoppard (33) theatre (268) to-read (57) Tom Stoppard (31) unread (22)
  1. 61
    Hamlet by William Shakespeare (guyalice, kxlly)
    guyalice: Reasons should be obvious
  2. 40
    Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (guyalice)
    guyalice: Stoppard's play's been called "Waiting for Hamlet," as both are existentialist plays featuring a pair of clueless (yet tragic) idiots.
  3. 10
    The Reduced Shakespeare Co. presentsThe Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr by William Shakespeare (meggyweg)

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Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
This really was an amazing play. I found myself literally laughing out loud while reading, which I try to restrict myself from doing even when I am by myself. While I read this years after reading Hamlet, there was still enough connection to make this a brilliant retelling that is smart and entertaining. ( )
  CareBear36 | Mar 8, 2014 |
I don't much like reading plays. Occasionally I will find reading a play is brilliant, something I can envision on stage, something gripping, compelling. Unfortunately, this play was not one of them.

I am partially handicapped by the fact that I've only once read Hamlet, and that five years ago, so some of the references were entirely lost on me. But it is also true that I found the play difficult, even the familiar bits from Hamlet were obscure to me, and that I found the work herky-jerky and nerve-wracking, and wanted it to end.

I don't want to see it on stage, either, I have a feeling it would annoy me. All in all, not a great read. ( )
  ahef1963 | Jan 2, 2014 |
The author has taken two unimportant [dare I say expendable?] characters from Hamlet, turned Hamlet on its head and made these two [Ros and Guil, as the author calls them] the main actors: more than a mere plot point in the original. Also, the Player [leader of the travelling theatrical troupe of tragedians] is very important in moving the action [such as it is] along. Ros and Guil are clueless throughout: why have they been summoned to Denmark? What does the king want them to do? What and why is Hamlet's 'transformation'? What will be their fates? Surreal humor, absurdism, silliness, a touch of sadness, and fantastic wordplay make this play--interspersed with relevant scenes from Hamlet--a modern classic. It's a play within a play within a play... I thought it was hilarious. It would help to know at least a basic synopsis of Hamlet.

It was most witty and I loved the rapid-fire patter, especially when Ros and Guil "play at questions", along with each keeping score on the other [like a tennis match--e.g., "two---love"; "foul"]. I read this play with text in hand watching the movie, written and also directed by Tom Stoppard. The movie had visual elements the play did not; and the play had dialogue that had been cut from the movie. So together, they were a good fit. Later, I read the text aloud. Seeing a theatrical performance would not go amiss. This play is most highly recommended. ( )
1 vote janerawoof | Dec 20, 2013 |
Only a genius could make such a wonderful play from a single line in a Shakespeare play: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Stoppard takes two minor characters, and turns them into the focus of their own play, telling their story from their own point of view. It's a delightful romp with two of the more enjoyable of Shakespeare's fools. Hamlet takes backstage here to let the clowns drive the story forward. The tragic ending of Hamlet remains, but the ending of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is the true tragedy in this dark comedy. ( )
  quantum_flapdoodle | Dec 20, 2013 |
This is the only play we have read this semester for my Intro. to Drama class that I really was not able to get into much at all. I wouldn't say it felt like a chore to read it. It just wasn't my cup of tea, so I didn't care for it much. That being said, there was definitely some good humor involved, and the ending seems like it would be quite chilling and surreal live on stage. So, not great, in my opinion, but certainly okay. ( )
  TiffanyAK | Nov 27, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
This is a most remarkable play. Very funny. Very brilliant. Very chilling.
added by keeper3014 | editThe New York Times
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead [is] verbally dazzling...the most exciting, witty intellectual treat imaginable.
added by keeper3014 | editThe New Yorker, Edith Oliver
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Two ELIZABETHANS passing the time in a place without any visible character.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802132758, Paperback)

Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm’s-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare’s play. In Tom Stoppard’s best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:39 -0400)

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Two minor characters from "Hamlet" offer a novel view of the melancholy Dane.

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